I Am Such a Navy Brat

It’s Veterans’ Day today, and I tend to get a little teary-eyed around Veterans’ Day (“maudlin,” as one of my friends put it). Well, y’know, I’m not a cry-baby type, but everybody has that emotional button which, when pushed, one gets teary-eyed, whether one wants to or not. I mean, I know people who cry at long-distance commercials. 🙂 As for me, death, especially death too young, too soon, gets me. For example, that scene in _Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers_ in which Theoden stands at the grave of his son makes me want to weep every time. Anyways — Veterans’ Day. I get a little emotional around this time because I’m a Navy Brat and, as a result, I have that strong American patriotic streak in me. Sure. I’m pretty cynical when it comes to American politics as usual, but, damn, I *like* being an American. My father became an American through the US Navy, and even though he joined up during the Vietnam War, it was, as he always made clear to me, worth it. But I at least have a dad that’s still alive. I had a friendly acquiantence in high school who never knew her dad because he want MIA in the Vietnam War when she was still in her mom’s womb. All of her memories of her dad is memories of her dad in photographs and in family stories. She’d wear her MIA bracelet on Veterans’ Day, and since my high school was just a hop-skip-and a jump from a Navy base, we Navy brats all understood. A father-to-be leaves for a war and never gets to see his daughter’s birth, never gets to see his daughter grow up. A daughter is born and never gets to feel the strong shoulders of her father as he lifts her up for shoulder rides and then, when she gets older, as he holds her as she cries on his shoulder when the world starts to get complicated. Her father is a veteran, and so is mine, and it is on this day that I honour them and others like them with my tears.

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